The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has undertaken reforms since President Xi Jinping took office in 2012, which have turned it into a leaner and more effective fighting force, but also one more closely aligned to Mr Xi.
In January last year, the PLA’s four powerful headquarters were abolished and their functions distributed across 15 agencies under the CMC, a move widely seen as a decentralisation of power at the top echelons of the military leadership.
“By dividing them into smaller organs and making them report directly to Mr Xi, it’s a way for him to exert direct control over the PLA,” said S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies‘ China expert Hoo Tiang Boon.
Reforms in the next few years will likely focus on institutionalising these changes, even as China moves to project military power further afield as its overseas interests grow, said Dr Hoo.
Last updated on 09/10/2017